Esche, Assche (xiii cent.); Asshe (xiv cent.).
Ash is a parish on the western border of the
county, 36 miles south-west from London, 8 miles
from Guildford, bounded on the north by Frimley,
formerly part of the same parish, on the east by
Pirbright and Worplesdon, on the south by Wanborough and Seale, on the west by Aldershot in
Hampshire. The shape is irregular, but the furthest
extension west to east is over 4 miles, from north
to south over 3 miles. The southern part of the
parish, including St. Peter's Church and Ash village,
is on the London Clay; but the greater portion,
once including Frimley, covers the western side of the
ridge of Bagshot Sands, which is divided from Chobham Ridges by the dip through which the Basingstoke
Canal and Railway run, and is known as Ash Common,
Fox Hills, Claygate Common. The high land,
largely covered by heather with plantations of conifers,
slopes westward to the alluvium of the Blackwater
River between Surrey and Hampshire. The parish
is traversed by the road from Guildford to Aldershot;
by the Basingstoke Canal; by the London and South
Western Railway, with Ash Green station opened
1852; by the London, Brighton, and South Coast
Railway, with Ash station opened 1849, and Aldershot North Camp station; and by the Pirbright,
Aldershot, and Farnham branch, 1879; and the
Ascot, Frimley, and Aldershot North Camp branch,
The area of the parish is 6,292 acres, including
the district of Wyke, formerly in Worplesdon, but
added to Ash in 1880. (fn. 1)
The making of Aldershot Camp has revolutionized
the whole of this neighbourhood. The camp itself
is in Hampshire, but ranges have been established in
Ash parish, and houses in connexion with the camp
have turned what were desolate heaths into a succession of straggling villages or even towns. Henley
Park (q.v.) lies on the other side of the parish. It is
one of the numerous parks formed in the Surrey
bailiwick of Windsor Forest. Cobbett, the famous
political and social reformer, farmed land at Normandy in this parish.
Of prehistoric antiquities only a few neolithic
implements, in the Surrey Archaeological Society's
Museum at Guildford, have been recorded.
There was an Inclosure Act (Ash and Frimley),
1801, making large inclosures of waste, but reserving
certain rights of fuel (turf) to the inhabitants.
There are Wesleyan and Congregational chapels in
the village. There are also Wesleyan chapels in Ash
Street and Normandy. Wyke is an ecclesiastical parish
formed out of Ash, Worplesdon, and Wanborough in
1847 (vide infra).
Henley Park is the seat of Sir Owen Roberts;
Normandy Park of Mr. P. G. Henriques, J.P.;
Westwood House of Lieut.-Colonel Coussmaker.
Ash School (National) was built in 1835; Ash
Vale School (also National) was built in 1860, and
enlarged 1897; Wyke School (National) was built
in 1874, and enlarged 1896.
The Victoria Hall was built in 1897 as a Jubilee
Memorial. It is used for meetings and entertainments.
Frimley, though formerly part of Ash, was in
Godley Hundred, not in Woking, which justifies a
presumption that it may have become the property of
Chertsey Abbey at an earlier date than Ash.
The parish, separated from Ash in 1866, is bounded
on the north-west by Berkshire, on the north-east by
Windlesham, on the east by Chobham and Pirbright,
on the south by Ash, on the west by Hampshire. It
is 30 miles from London. It contains 7,800 acres,
and measures 4 miles from north to south, and
3 miles from east to west. The parish covers the
western side of Chobham Ridges, and extends down
into the valley of the Blackwater, which bounds the
county. The soil is, therefore, Bagshot sand and
alluvium, with patches of gravel and large beds of
peat. In the latter conifers and rhododendrons
flourish exceedingly. The Heatherside Nurseries,
where are some of the finest Wellingtonias in England,
may be taken as the typical industry of the neighbourhood, which is otherwise a residential district, or
occupied by those connected with Aldershot, the
Staff College, which is in the parish, and Sandhurst
which lies just outside it. A very great part of
the parish was open land, heather-covered, before
the Inclosure Act of 1801. Much of it is still
uncultivated. The main road from London to
Southampton crosses the northern part of the parish.
It is substantially on the line of the Roman road.
On the top of the hill, near the Golden Farmer Inn,
named after a notorious highwayman, the road to
Farnham branches south from it, and passes through
Old Frimley village. The main line of the London
and South Western Railway cuts the middle of the
parish. The Ascot, Aldershot, and Farnham branch
traverses it from north to south. The Basingstoke
Canal also passes through Frimley.
Palaeolithic flints have been found in the drift
gravels on the hills, and a few neolithic implements
at places unspecified in the parish. On the hill, near
the southern end of Chobham Ridges, is a very large
round barrow called Round Butt; south of it Mainstone Hill probably preserves the name of the Standing
Stone, which formed a boundary mark of Chobham
in the early Chertsey charter. Dr. Stukeley, in his
Itinerarium Curiosum, records a Roman urn and coins
as found here.
Frimley Manor House is the seat of Mrs. Burrell,
Frimley Park of Mr. N. Spens, Watchetts of Mr.
H. J. B. Hollings, Prior Place of Mr. F. H.
The Royal Albert Orphan Asylum was built by
subscription in 1864. It has about two hundred
inmates, boys and girls. A farm is attached to it.
Schools (National) were built in 1842, and enlarged
The common fields were inclosed under an Act
passed in 1826.
York Town with Camberley is a small town
which has grown up on the road in the northwestern part of Frimley parish, and increased owing
to the proximity of the Military College, Sandhurst,
over the Berkshire border, the Staff College at Camberley, and the Albert Asylum.
The Royal Military College, founded by Frederick,
Duke of York, was removed under his direction to
Sandhurst, close to this neighbourhood (but in Berkshire), in 1812. The houses which grew up near it
in Surrey were called after him, York Town. When
under a later royal commander-in-chief, the Duke of
Cambridge, the Staff College was built in 1862, the
extension of York Town was called Cambridge
Town, but was soon changed to Camberley for postal
convenience, and under that name has become the
most important place of the district.
Schools (Provided) were built at York Town in
1883; at Camberley in 1897; at Camberley, Infants,
in 1902. There is a Roman Catholic school, built in
1877. There was a Church school at York Town
from 1818 to 1883.
Frimley, York Town, and Camberley form an urban
district under an Urban District Council, by the Act
It seems probable that the manor of
ASH (Esche, xii cent.; Asshe, Assche,
xiv cent.) was included under Henley
in the land which the Domesday Commissioners say
that Azor granted for his soul to Chertsey in the time
of King William. (fn. 2) The fact that the parish was
known as Ash by Henley in
the 14th century (fn. 3) lends colour
to the suggestion that Henley
in early times was regarded as
the more important place.
Chertsey Abbey. Party or and argent St. Paul's sword having its hilt or crossed with St. Peter's keys gules and azure.
Winchester College. Argent two cheverons sable between three roses gules.
Ash was definitely asserted
to be the property of the abbey in 1279, when the abbot
with his men was declared to
be quit of all forest dues in
his vill of Ash. (fn. 4) The chartulary of Chertsey Abbey (fn. 5) records that shortly after the
statute, 'vulgarly called Mortmain,' 11 acres in Ash with
sufficient common pasture for
his flocks and herds were held
by Robert de Zathe, while
Geoffrey de Bacsete (Bagshot)
and his brother William had
28. The Atwaters of West
Clandon also held land in
Ash. (fn. 6)
In 1537 the abbey granted
Ash with its other lands to
Henry VIII, (fn. 7) and for a few
years it seems to have remained as Crown property.
Edward VI, however, shortly
after his accession granted it to Winchester College, (fn. 8)
which still holds it.
There is no mention of a mill under Henley in
Domesday Book, but it is certain that a mill existed
at Ash from comparatively early times, for in 1322
the Abbot of Chertsey ordered a new windmill to be
built at Ash. (fn. 9) Windmills were comparatively new
in England then, and it may have been in place of
a small water-mill of earlier date. There seems no
later record of it.
HENLEY (xi cent. onwards; Henle, xiv cent.;
Suth henle and Henle on the Heth) was granted in
William's reign to Chertsey by Azor, a wealthy
Englishman who had retained land after the Conquest. (fn. 10)
It would appear that before the 14th century the
abbey had sublet the manor and certain lands at
Fremelesworth (Frimley) to a family who were
known as 'of Henley.' Deeds in the possession of
Mr. Woodroffe of Poyle (q.v.), quoted by Manning, (fn. 11) refer to a John of Henley, and in 1306 to a
William de Henley, and in 1324 William enfeoffed
Edward II of it. (fn. 12) The document further states
that since the transfer the rent of 22s. 8d. and 12
measures (lagenae) of honey (fn. 13) due to the abbey
had been in arrears, which furnishes a significant
comment on the lawlessness of the end of the reign of
Edward II. In 1338 Edward III granted the manor
to John de Molyns, together with view of frankpledge and fines for breach of the assize of bread and
ale. (fn. 14) In the next year other privileges followed,
including the right of erecting gallows on the soil of
the manor, and of passing judgement on malefactors
apprehended there. (fn. 15)
In 1343 the manor was reported to be in the
king's hands owing to 'the rebellion' of John de
Molyns, who was one of the ministers disgraced in
1340 for alleged misappropriation of money, and the
abbot took advantage of his tenant's disgrace to renew
his demands for rent; he pointed out that Henley
had been held of his church since the time of its
foundation for the service of paying a sum of money
with twelve gallons of honey yearly, and suit at the
abbey's court at Ash. (fn. 16) The rent is said to have been
wrongfully withdrawn by John de Molyns.
John de Molyns' disgrace appears to have been of
only short duration. In 1343 the manor was again
granted to him to hold in the same way as before, (fn. 17)
and the next year he obtained a confirmation of that
grant. (fn. 18) Possibly the manor or part of it may have
been granted to Henry de Stoughton (fn. 19) during de
Molyns' disgrace; at any rate, in 1349 Henry released to him all his right in the manor. (fn. 20) Some two
years later John granted Henley to the king in return
for special privileges in his Buckinghamshire property, (fn. 21) and in 1359 the king levied a fine against
William son of John, (fn. 22) by which he made his possession more secure.
From that time Henley Manor remained Crown
property for upwards of three centuries, and the
evidence for its history consists chiefly of appointments of stewards and parkers. In 1633 Charles I
granted it to Robert Tyrwhitt and Arthur Squib, (fn. 23)
who sold it soon after to Sir John Glynn. (fn. 24) In 1724
the Duke of Roxburgh, Lord Justice in the absence of
George I from England in 1723 and 1725, seems to
have been residing at Henley Park. (fn. 25) Bowen's map
of about 1736 also names him as occupier. Sir John
Glynn's son left three daughters, two of whom died
unmarried, and the manor passed to Dorothy, the
third daughter, who married Sir Richard Child,
created Earl of Tylney in 1731. In 1739 the earl
sold the manor to Mr. Solomon Dayrolles, (fn. 26) who in
1784 conveyed to Henry Halsey. (fn. 27) The Halsey
family are still owners, but the late Lord Pirbright
lived in the house, and Sir Owen Roberts is the
In 1338 John de Molyns received licence to impark his woods of West Grove and Goddard's Grove
in the manor of Henley. (fn. 28) In 1356, after the manor
had returned into the king's hands, he bought out
twenty tenants, and seems to have laid all the land
into the park, granting the rector of Ash compensation for the loss of tithes. (fn. 29) The office of parkkeeper, with a residence in the manor-house, was a
valuable piece of preferment bestowed among others
upon Sir Thomas St. Leger by his brother-in-law,
Edward IV, on Sir Reginald Bray by Henry VII, and
on Viscount Montagu by Queen Mary. Montagu
frequently resided at Henley, and it was notoriously
the refuge of recusants and suspected priests (fn. 30) during his tenure. Henley Park is among those surveyed by John Norden in 1607. (fn. 31) The house may
contain some ancient walls, but it was mostly rebuilt
by Mr. Dayrolles in 1751, the year of his marriage,
and bears the date upon it. Lord Pirbright made
further additions during his tenancy.
The manor of CLAYGATE (Cleygate) was apparently of late formation. In 1399 a grant was made to
Richard Rayle and Nicholas Churchill of lands called
Claygate lying at Henley. (fn. 32) These lands probably
came into the hands of Jasper Tudor, Earl of
Pembroke, later Duke of Bedford, and on his attainder
in 1461 lapsed to the Crown. In 1475 Sir Thomas
St. Leger received a grant of the manor of Claygate (fn. 33)
for his expense in keeping the game in Guildford
Park. (fn. 34) Claygate returned into the possession of
Jasper, Duke of Bedford, (fn. 35) on the reversal of his
attainder in 1485. He died in 1495. (fn. 36) It is said,
however, that Claygate was granted for life to Sir
Reginald Bray in 1488 with the custody of Guildford
and Henley Parks. (fn. 37) Bedford died without issue, and
his lands passed to his nephew, King Henry VII.
Elizabeth granted the manor to Edward Lord Clynton
and Saye, afterwards Earl of Lincoln. (fn. 38) A deed of
1564 (fn. 39) records that Lord Clynton owed money to
a certain Christopher Draper, citizen and alderman
of London. The manor was in Draper's hands in
the same year, (fn. 40) so that probably Claygate was ceded
to him in payment for debt. Draper apparently lost
little time in selling, for a year later William Harding
of Wanborough was in possession. (fn. 41) He died seised
in 1593, (fn. 42) leaving by his wife Catherine daughter of
Sir John White of London a son and heir William,
who died unmarried in 1610, when the manor passed
to his sister Mary. (fn. 43) Mary married Sir Robert Gorges,
who in 1620 joined with her in conveying the manor
to Sir Thomas White. (fn. 44) According to Manning and
Bray, (fn. 45) who had access to Mr. Woodroffe's papers,
Sir Thomas settled it on his cousin, Robert Woodroffe, son of Catherine wife of William Harding, by
her second marriage with Sir David Woodroffe. From
him it descended in the family with Poyle (fn. 46) (q.v.).
The manor of FRIMLEY, although part of the
parish of Ash, is in Godley Hundred, and is reckoned
in it in a court roll. (fn. 47) It may have been the land in
Ash purchased for Chertsey Abbey by Bartholomew
de Winton, the abbot, in 1277, from a Sir Walter
Raleigh. (fn. 48) William de Henley 'held land in Fremelesworth' of the abbey, together with Henley (q.v.), in
1324. It came into the possession of Henry VIII
in 1537 (fn. 49) with other monastic lands, and was apparently held by the Crown in demesne for some years.
It was granted to Sir John White of Aldershot, (fn. 50)
who died seised of it in 1573, (fn. 51) leaving a son and
heir Robert, then aged twenty-eight. Robert died
in 1599, (fn. 52) when the manor passed to his daughters
Helen and Mary, who had
respectively married Richard
and Walter Tichborne.
Tichborne. Vair a chief or.
The manor remained in the
Tichborne family until 1790,
when Sir Henry Tichborne
and Elizabeth his wife joined
in conveying it to James
Laurell. (fn. 53) He died in 1799
leaving a son and heir James. (fn. 54)
He sold the Manor House to
Mr. Tekell. This and the
manor were subsequently
bought about 1858 by Mr. J. F. Burrell. The manor
has since been sold to Messrs. Pain & Brettell, solicitors at Chertsey.
The reputed manor of FORMANS in Ash does
not appear before the 16th century. Henry Vyne
died seised of it in 1571, leaving a son and heir
Stephen. (fn. 55) In 1598 Jane Vyne, presumably the
widow of Stephen, joined with her son Ralph in conveying the manor to Robert White of Aldershot. (fn. 56)
At his death it came with Frimley into the hands of
the Tichborne family, who alienated to Sir Thomas
White in 1609. (fn. 57) From that date it seems to have
followed the descent of Poyle in Tongham. It is
now a farm.
The church of ST. PETER ASH
consists of two parts, an old and a new.
The former has a chancel 18 ft. by
15 ft. 7 in., nave 42 ft. 10 in. by 20 ft. 6 in., west
tower 14 ft. 9 in. by 13 ft. 7 in., and the latter, consisting of a large modern chancel, nave, and vestry, has
been added to it on the north side. The new chancel
is 30 ft. long by 14 ft. 3 in. wide, and the nave 58 ft.
long by 24 ft. wide. The older part of the church
has been a good deal repaired, but has been an
aisleless building of nave and chancel of 12th-century date, the tower, built of Heath stone, being
a 15th-century addition. The earliest details are in
the south door and a lancet in the old chancel, both
of early 13th-century date, and in the new north
wall of the nave is reset a small 12th-century roundheaded light, much repaired.
The east window of the old chancel is modern,
of three lights in late 13th-century style. On the
north are two double bays vaulted between, with
foliate or moulded capitals, opening into the new
chancel. West of this is a modern squint directed
towards the new chancel. In the south wall is a
13th-century lancet with external rebate, in which
are a few old stones. The south door is modern and
has a continuous chamfer; and west of it is a
square-headed window of two trefoiled lights, 15th-century work repaired. Under the lancet is a small
piscina with pointed head and half-projecting bowl.
The chancel arch is of two chamfered orders with
modern moulded capitals and bases and half-octagonal
responds; the jambs perhaps date from the 14th century. The north arcade is modern, of four bays,
each of two chamfered orders and with moulded
circular capitals, ornamented with heads carved in
In the south wall are three modern two-light
windows. The south door dates from c. 1200, and
is round-headed, of two orders, the inner with an
edge-roll on jambs, the outer with a filleted roll between two hollows in the arch, and filleted shafts
with foliate capitals in the jambs. The porch has
wood framing, probably of 16th-century date, filled
in below with brick, and is covered with ivy. The
tower arch is of two chamfered orders with halfoctagonal responds and moulded capitals and bases.
The tower is a fine massive building of Heath stone,
modernized as regards its windows, with a tall shingled
broach spire. The modern chancel has a five-light
traceried window in the east wall. On the north
and south walls is a wall arcade, and there is also
a single traceried light on each side. The north
vestry has a single and a two-light window. The
chancel arch, in 15th-century style, rests on moulded
corbel capitals. In the north wall is inserted a small
12th-century light, and there are also three modern
three-light windows, with a similar one of two lights
in the west wall. The roofs are all of steep pitch and
modern. The font is of wood, as at Chobham in
this neighbourhood, probably of 17th-century date,
the bowl octagonal, cut from one piece and lined with
lead; there is a central stem with eight octagonal
On the south wall of the old chancel is a brass
tablet to Thomas Manory, 1516; below is another
to Anne Vyne, his daughter and heir. A shield
above these bears an engrailed cross.
There are five bells, all of which were cast by
Thomas Mears, 1798.
The plate consists of a silver cup and silver cover
of 1575, a silver paten of about 1674, a silver flagon
of 1734, and a brass almsdish.
The registers date from 1580. There is an iron
church at Ash Vale, built in 1885.
The church of ST. PETER FRIMLEY.—The
present church was built in 1825 in place of the old
chapel and is of stone with a low west tower of debased design. It was restored and added to in 1882,
1884, and 1888. The old chapel was a picturesque
timbered building with a thatched 100f; a good engraving of it is preserved in Cracklow's Surrey Churches.
A new church, ST. PAUL'S, was built in 1903
near the north boundary of Frimley.
There is an iron church at Frimley Green, built in
The church of ST. MARK WYKE is of stone,
with a belfry, erected in 1847.
The church of ST. MICHAEL YORK TOWN
dates from 1851. It is of stone, in 13th-century style.
The church of ST. GEORGE CAMBERLEY
was built in 1893.
The advowson of Ash, like the
manor, belonged first to Chertsey
Abbey (fn. 58) and later to Winchester
College. (fn. 59) In 1311 the presentation was in the
king's gift 'by reason of the late voidance of the
abbacy of Chertsey.' (fn. 60)
Under Edward III some supplementary provision
was made for the parson of Ash, after the inclosure
of Henley Park (q.v.), on condition of his celebrating
divine service daily within the king's manor of Henley. (fn. 61)
This grant was confirmed under Richard II (fn. 62) and
subsequently. (fn. 63)
There was a chapel at Frimley, built at an unknown date. After the foundation, but again at an
unknown date, a chantry called John Stephen Chantry
was founded in the chapel, worth £5 14s. 11½d.
in the time of Edward VI. (fn. 64) It was served by an
ex-canon of Newark. It was not demolished when
the chantry was suppressed, for by the registers baptisms took place there in 1590. In 1607 Bishop
Bilson licensed the chapel and churchyard for marriages and burials, the inhabitants undertaking to
raise £6 and the rector of Ash to contribute £4 a
year for a curate, Winchester College, the patron of
Ash, consenting. (fn. 65) In 1636 the warden and fellows
of the college protested to Archbishop Laud against
the inhabitants of Frimley, who had petitioned him
'for the allowance of a yearly stipend pretended to
be due from the parson of Ashe, for the maintenance
of a chaplaine at their chappell of ease in Frimley.'
It was pointed out that the people of Frimley, like
the other inhabitants of Ash, ought to repair to the
parish church. The archbishop's decision is not recorded. Services were intermittent; but in 1735 an
agreement was made by which the rector of Ash was
to pay £10 a year for a curate, the inhabitants £8,
and the bishop £2. (fn. 66) The inhabitants appointed
the curate; (fn. 67) but the patronage is now in the hands
of Winchester College. It was made a separate
parish in 1866.
The ecclesiastical parish of Wyke was formed out
of Ash, Worplesdon, and Wanborough in 1847. The
greater part of it was in Worplesdon, but was surrounded by Ash and is part of the civil parish.
The living is in the gift of Eton College.
York Town was made an ecclesiastical parish in
1851. The living is in the gift of the Bishop of
Winchester, and includes Camberley.
Smith's Charity exists as in other
Dr. Michael Woodward, rector in
1643, who died or retired before 1662, left £2 10s.
annually to the poor, charged on land.
Mr. Edward Dawe left £20 in 1721, laid out in
land, for persons not receiving regular relief.
Mr. Thomas Stevens in 1747 left a charge of £3
annually on land for distribution of bread to the
A parcel of land in Ash, called Parish Close,
was let for the benefit of the poor of Ash and
Frimley. (fn. 68)